Book for September 2008
Bougainville. 1991. A small village on a lush tropical island in the South Pacific. Eighty-six days have passed since Matilda's last day of school as, quietly, war is encroaching from the other end of the island. When the villagers' safe, predictable lives come to a halt, Bougainville's children are surprised to find the island's only white man, a recluse, re-opening the school. Pop Eye, aka Mr Watts, explains he will introduce the children to Mr Dickens. Matilda and the others think a foreigner is coming to the island and prepare a list of much needed items. They are shocked to discover their acquaintance with Mr Dickens will be through Mr Watts' inspiring reading of Great Expectations. But on an island at war, the power of fiction has dangerous consequences. Imagination and beliefs are challenged by guns. Mister Pip is an unforgettable tale of survival by story; a dazzling piece of writing that lives long in the mind after the last page is finished.
In 1988 Jones was the recipient of the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship. In 1994 he curated an exhibition which illustrated the New Zealand Saturday. The work was a collaboration with photographer Bruce Foster and held at the National Library in Wellington. The work was published as The Last Saturday and included historical photographs, contemporary photographs by Foster and an essay by Jones.
In May 2003, a theatrical adaptation of Jones' novel The Book of Fame was presented at Wellington's Downstage Theatre.
In May 2007, Jones won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Overall Best Book Award for his novel Mister Pip. The novel is set during the Bougainville Civil War of the early 1990s in Papua New Guinea. The book was also short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2007.
Jones was the 2007 recipient of the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers' Residency.
Other books we've read by the same author:Hand Me Down World